It was cool last night, down into the 50s. I hate to admit it, but summer is drawing to a close here in Montepulciano. Yesterday was the official last festival of the season, the annual barrel race. I’ll spare you all the details since I wrote about it at length last year, but my Contrada, Gracciano, won this year, so it was pretty exciting. I watched the race with a bunch of Poggiolo fans (Bonnie’s gang, Antonella) so I had to cheer quietly. If you have ever summited this town, which is quite steep, imagine pushing a 200 pound barrel to the top while you’re at it. The festivities went on well into the night and since my apartment is really close to the Contrada’s home base, I got to hear numerous songs in honor of the win! Our Queen cover band has been playing “We are the Champions” all summer, but last night it really seemed appropriate.
I checked on my Permesso last week with Siena and they said it should be ready in another week or so, so that’s good news. Of course, I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that by the time I have it in my hand, work opportunities will be evaporating into the autumn fog, along with the tourists.
I’ve been the recipient of tons of tomatoes and plums over the past few weeks and I’ve tried my hand at making some traditional Tuscan recipes for tomato sauce. I also made a plum applesauce, but didn’t attempt the marmellata that they do here because I want to see it being done first. My creation came out good and I even succeeded in vacuum sealing the jars by turning them upside down, which was a trick Fabio taught me when I was working at Poliziano. Basically it eliminates the need for the water bath after putting the jam or sauce in the jars.
With the cool temperatures today, Cinder and I took a long walk toward San Biagio. The grape vines are getting heavy with their sangiovese grapes and the olive trees are preparing for another season’s harvest of the their precious oil! I’m also quite excited about this week’s trip to the market as I just got a text from my fruit vendor that he is back. I’m looking forward to seeing him, as well as to my discount…a girl can’t survive on plums and tomatoes alone!